Waitara jetsprint track ready to test drivers and excite crowds


Jetsprint organiser Leighton Minnell talks about the first event at Taranaki's new jetsprint course.

Waitara's new jetsprint track will test drivers and provide excitment for spectators, Leighton Minnell said.

The former world superboat champion has spent the last three months building the track, at the end of Joll St, to host round three of the New Zealand V8 Jetsprint Championship on February 28.

"We've come along way in that time," Minnell said during a testing session on Wednesday which involved two American teams who are in the country to take part in the world series.

Greg and Dawn Erb, of Inglewood, put their jetsprint boat through its paces at the new track in Waitara on Wednesday.
Robert Charles/FAIRFAX NZ

Greg and Dawn Erb, of Inglewood, put their jetsprint boat through its paces at the new track in Waitara on Wednesday.

"For three months I'm wrapped, we've got the fences in and the concrete ramp built." 

Minnell, who has won two national titles, said he believed the 150 metre long by 50m wide tight twisting circuit would provide the right balance to test the drivers' skill and horsepower.

"This one's a driver's track, it has got a bit of everything," he said.

"If you haven't got the skill then you are going to end up upside down on the island and that's what the crowd wants to see."

Minnell was excited to have the American teams test the track.

Driver Ron Domoe, of Nevada, said he couldn't wait to get out on the circuit.

"I'm always excited to try out a new track," Domoe said before his first run.

However his timing was slightly off and his high-powered jetboat clipped an island.

Minnell said the testing session would allow the track to be fine tuned.

"It will show how the track will flow so we can get the digger in and make changes if necessary." 

Minnell said he had sold 30 corporate boxes for the event in February and interest in the sport was high in the region.

"It's going huge, if it keeps going the way that it is it will be standing room only," he said.

"We would love to fill the place and show New Zealand that Taranaki knows how to put on a world class event."

Three classes of boat would be on show at the event - group-B boats have up to 550hp, group-A up to 700hp and superboats which boast up to 1500hp.

Minnell said he had personally invested "too much" money to stage the event but had consent to hold it for three years and hoped by that stage to have recovered his outlay.

Tickets are available at eventfinder.co.nz


 - Stuff

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